A senior Iranian official has confirmed his country carried out air strikes in neighboring Iraq against Islamic State (IS) militants at the request of the Iraqi government, Britain's "The Guardian" newspaper reported.
The paper quoted Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Ebrahim Rahimpour as saying the purpose of the strikes was "the defense of the interests of our friends in Iraq."
Rahimpour, in an interview in London on December 5, said the strikes were not coordinated with the United States, which along with allies is also waging an air campaign against the extremist group in Iraq and Syria.
Rahimpour's comments were the first from an Iranian official confirming Iran's role in the air strikes in the Iraqi province of Diyala, which borders Iran, in late November.
Tehran had earlier denied it had launched any such strikes.
Images appearing to show Iranian military jets conducting air strikes in Iraq emerged last week.